Last month was National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. It was filled with activities like “Bike to Work Day” and “National Run a Mile Day.” Suddenly, my network was full of posts about Whole30 and after-workout selfies. It’s now the first week of June, and I can’t help but wonder if this uptick in wellness will continue—June is National Candy Month after all.
WELLNESS AND THE WHOLE SELF
A wellness program is a serious commitment. One that both people, as well as organizations, understand, yet often fall short of successfully maintaining. Organizations may roll out wellness programs in hopes of increasing employee engagement, but can’t figure out why employees aren’t participating. Or as individuals, perhaps wellness hasn’t made it from the “nice-to-have” list to the “must-have” list because work is too busy. The truth is, prioritizing health and wellness programs should be a top priority, for organizations and individuals.
At exaqueo, we always talk about bringing our Whole Self to work. Whole Self is the belief you don’t shut work off when you leave the office. And you don’t shut the rest of your life off when you leave home. Everything impacts and influences everything else. Work and life can strengthen or weaken our commitments, including the one to focus on health and wellness.
3 WAYS TO WELLNESS PROGRAMS THAT WORK
So how do we overcome and find a wellness program that works? We aren’t sharing any workout routines or healthy recipes here, but rather three things to keep in mind when it comes to committing to a wellness program. Whether you’ve got your individual or organizational hat on, we hope you find these three insights to be helpful!
1. START SOMEWHERE SIGNIFICANT
There is no “right way” to do a wellness program. There is no “right measurement” of success for your company’s wellness program. We are all different, so it makes sense that different individuals and different organizations will have different wellness programs.
The important thing is that you’re starting somewhere significant. Your starting point should be tailored and relevant to you or your employees. Remember, wellness is more than just physical; it includes mental, emotional, spiritual, and even financial well-being. Ask yourself:
- What are our current pains?
- What are our potential gains?
- What or who is driving this program or initiative?
- What is going to be the most valuable use of time? What activity do you or our employees want to take part in most?
- Does the company have the quantitative and qualitative data to support the business need behind a new wellness program? Do we know what our employees want in a wellness program? Have we asked them or are we assuming too much?
- What specific program will have the most benefit?
- What can be accomplished with little to no cost and without a massive amount of effort, yet have the greatest and most scalable impact?
- How will we know if the program is a success?
Then, start there.
2. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND BE FLEXIBLE
It may sound silly, but it’s worth saying: Don’t let your wellness program stress you out! Simplicity is the key to a wellness program that succeeds. If you have to sign up for a gym membership and buy a ton of equipment to take a fitness class, you may never get to that class. Similarly, employees don’t want to overcome a bunch of obstacles in order to participate in company-sponsored wellness initiatives.
Flexibility is also key to a corporate wellness program that works. > Click to tweet!
It’s not just flexibility in the schedule (i.e. rain prevents your run, so you take a spin class), but also flexibility in how you measure your wellness. As mentioned, wellness is more than just working out. Give yourself credit for all the progress you’re making, including eating healthy, drinking enough water or getting enough sleep. Organizations need to stay flexible to the needs of their workforce and company culture. These variables change and evolve. As you grow with your organization, so should your wellness program.
3. REMEMBER THE BENEFITS
When you feel like giving up, remember why you got started. The benefits associated with maintaining a wellness program, for individuals and organizations, are vast. Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of some cancers, strengthen your bones and muscles, and increase your chances of living longer (CDC). Participation in other activities could lead to a decrease in stress or improved nutritional habits.
Organizations that provide wellness programs to employees see an average return on investment of about 3:1 (Forbes). Some of the metrics reported include direct financial gains, greater employee productivity, reductions in employee absenteeism, increased employee engagement, and decreased employee attrition.
No matter what, wellness programs benefit every party involved. > Click to tweet!
A personal wellness program and an employer wellness program can have a profound effect on each other, too. Employees bring their whole selves to work … and we all know what happens during the workday can affect what happens after the workday. Once we start seeing our whole self at work, we can start prioritizing commitments and achieving our goals.
Whether they are wellness goals or other work-life goals.
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Emily Fritz (@social_em) is an Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.